September 14, 2021
This week Film Comment is reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival, both virtually and in-person. One of the most anticipated films at this year’s festival is Benediction, the latest feature by British master Terence Davies. It’s a biopic of the English anti-war poet Siegfried Sassoon—although, biopic is a bit of a misnomer. Like A Quiet Passion, Davies’s 2015 film about Emily Dickinson, Benediction is a beautifully impressionistic, personal, and indeed poetic account of Sassoon’s very colorful life. Davies jumps back and forth in time, melds archival footage and arch scenes of drama, and stages some stunning tableaux that tune us into the ups and downs of Sassoon’s life as a gay man, and the despair that haunted him and his poetry after his stint in World War I.
Film Comment Co-Deputy Editor Devika Girish sat down with the Davies to talk about the film as well as an eclectic range of subjects: beauty, eternity, poetry, Catholicism, the power of silence, his experiences in the U.K’s gay scene, the horrors of reality television, and more. We hope you enjoy the conversation, and make sure you subscribe to the podcast and to the Film Comment Letter so you can keep up with all our upcoming Toronto and New York Film Festival coverage.
This episode is sponsored by Kino Lorber, presenting Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Wife of a Spy, now in theaters: bit.ly/wifeofaspy